Today, somebody, somewhere is commemorating the passing of someone dear to them. They are wiping tears and trying to swallow grief before it swallows them. They are sad and maybe even bitter. For the rest of us, it’s just Wednesday.
This art piece, based on the painting, “Forgiven,” by Thomas Blackshear II, has always got to me. The man has a large nail (more like a spike, really) in his left hand and a hammer in his right hand, and the nail-scarred hands of Christ can be seen. Translation: even though the man’s wrongdoings were what nailed Jesus to the cross, the Lord still forgave him.
I've never had an anxiety attack, but one of my best friends struggles with them. Those who suffer from them have told me about the racing pulse, the terrifying thoughts, and the feeling one is going to die. It is for my friend—along with anyone else reading this who shares the same battle—I offer the following thoughts, Bible verses, and prayer.
You are the One who has given me every good thing in my life. You are the One who has given me not only the hope of salvation, but of Heaven, Lord. It was You who led my ancestors through many challenging days, through death and right into Your arms, Lord.
I would like to ask one thing, Lord. I'm tired. I'm so very tired today. I don't know what else to say. I don't know what else to do. I just pray You give me strength. Give me the courage and tenacity to continue living for You in these difficult times. Allow me the spiritual brawn to lead my family to Your gates, Jesus.
"Prayin' for ya, kid." Those are the words with which James would end every phone call. James was a "resident" of a State Hospital where he resided since the 70s, when, in his early 20s, he committed a crime worthy of a life sentence in a hospital for the criminally insane. He never told me what he did to get there, and I never asked. All I can say I grew to love him like a brother, and was proud to call him “friend.”
Being an artistic soul, and having gone through so much pain, sorrow, anger and depression, I have a short list of songs which thunder in my spirit.
At times a lost child and at other times a blood-drenched soldier, these anthems make up the DNA of my warrior soul.
Our hearts are heavy with the burdens of this world. The physical and emotional agony smother us at times, Lord. Like we’re drowning. We’re so tired; soul-weary. The pain and the depression and the anxiety are almost too much to bear. Yet, we are not defeated, but look forward to Heaven. We pray for the strength to endure, so we can someday see that great and eternal land. The storm clouds grow darker, grayer, but we know just beyond those clouds awaits our true home.
The world is getting colder, angrier and deadlier; more violent and desperate, I think. Spirits—that is, hearts, attitudes, emotions—seem to be heavy these days. Like we’re struggling to even breathe, or at least that’s my impression. Bon Jovi said, “Keep the Faith.” Eric Clapton said he was “Running on Faith,” and Kid Rock described his “Lonely Road of Faith.” Real faith, however, comes at a cost of tears and blood. Sometimes it may even cost us our life, but it is the only path to genuine peace of mind.